Animal portraits and Horsemanship

western riding and training animal portraits

Kilmannan Bluebell


Bluebell's Story

Kilmannan Bluebell is out of Slaypits Black Magic ( 1987) and Trimdon Black Velvet ( 1978)

I bought Bluebell from Bill Ireland in 2009. She was unbacked and had not done very much. She had been shown as a youngster but Bill had decided to sell her to let her do something. I am so lucky that I decided to try another breed she was backed and ridden out on her own within a week. taking everything in her stride and eating up all the groundwork that I done to back her. Bluebell was backed Western style and we were out at our first western clinic with Bob Mayhew 4 weeks later. We went on to compete in a western show in the September and  October, getting placed. We have gelled well as a team and have been busy improving our western skills at the jog and lope! I have found with natives it takes longer to get them really supple enough to do western but once they are there is no holding them back. We are starting lope circles on a loose rein with the intention of competing in Reining and Western riding next year. Her groundmanners are impeccable and I trust her totally so much so that in the first year of being backed we took guided rides out on our riding weekend and she led the ride and was equally as happy to go first or last. At present we are grounded apart from the above photo last week when we managed to get out. So the schooling will need to wait a little longer until the snow goes away.

Bluebell and I have started doing a little Dressage and ridden showing and are jsut enjoying getting out and about.


Bluebell and I have been practising our dressage test for Sunday! She is starting to canter better in an arena and I am starting to get a little nervous as our time is now through and it makes it a bit more real!! EEK   


At Cousland today for our latest dressage test, last weeks was a total disaster as I went in really confident and promptly forgot where I was going. However this week I took my friend and we were better as she read the test. I done prelim 14 and although not placed was not eliminated!! She decided today she was not going to canter as she had been so good in practice yesterday! But on looking att he scores for the movements there is an improvement. We waited till one as I had decided to go for it bigstyle and do the freestyle dressage, I did not realise we would be going into a bigger arena however it worked well with the music ( Rhinestone cowboy and the magnificent seven). However I think the judge was a bit concerned with the canter down the center line to halt!! Was great fun.  


We were off today to do our first endurance ride! The venue was around here which was great for her first one as we knew the area. We just hacked over which was nice she vetted with a heart rate of 36 and when we finished it was 42! brilliant for her first one. She went really well and I really just let her decide where to canter as the ground was really muddy. Since I found her this morning up the side of a hill balanced on rocks eating gorse I figured she can work her own feet!! We completed the 16km in time and got a rosette. Looking forward to doing another one. Spent ages tonight though stripping down my western saddle and washing everything as it was all coated in mud!


Kayreen and Bluebell Susan and Mojo. 12.02.11


Since I last wrote we have had a fantastic weekend with Bob Mayhew doing a western clinic two days of riding and schooling getting more suppleness into both of us really! She is doing so well and we are getting the canter better and better each time. Not for the want of trying I might add!

Last weekend we went over to Jean Connell's for the Annual grass sickness ride. We had a great time although I was a bit worried about Bluebell to start with as she was quite sluggish and not herself. After our lunch stop she strained a couple of times and passed a couple of huge droppings and at the next opportunity to canter she was off flat out! I suspect she may have been a bit colicky. I am paranoid about grass sickness so try to feed at least oncea week some chaff to them all. I do not know if it would work but it makes me feel better! 


Since I last wrote we have been out and about doing some dressage and a little bit of showing. We are getting there the canter is still not great but is a work in progress. I had her scanned as she seemed a bit sore in her right hand side especially when she was in season. However there is nothing sinister just a little bit maresish! Anyway it has not held us back. We went to Haddington show and although we were not placed she behaved really well and did not put a hoof wrong. We went to do our dressage and are slowly increasing our percentages! Yesterday was great we went to the RDA show at west Fenton and got a second in the in hand, 1st in the ridden  and third in the championship. Again she was so well behaved I was so proud of her!



We have just had another western clinic with Bob Mayhew and I was so pleased with Bluebell! We are now in high school and using a curb bit more as she is getting much lighter in the hand and more responsive! We are now working on turnarounds ( the start of a spin) lead changes and our lope departures are coming on better and better. I am hoping to compete in the October show in more classes than normal and am looking forward to it, if I can get over my competition nerves it should be okay! We have been out practising in the stubble fields the last week or so and I feel we are really starting to work better one handed.


We had a great time at the WES Championship show, I seemed to have got over my nerves and I was so proud of my little horse. I had to clip out her neck and chest as it was so warm before the show but that seemed to have done the trick. We all had a lovely meal at Bishopton the night before the show so I suppose that helped. I decided not to do the Showmanship classes as that meant another outfit change so I done Novice Horse trail ( 4th) Open trail (DQ'd) due to the GPS not working one handed and the steering not functioning well, however she stopped and backed off my body movements really well. Then open Horsemanship 3rd really pleased as we were one handed again ( first time in competition) and then Open Pleasure 4th but the one I loved was the Novice Horse reining I really concentrated on my pattern and we ran it and got 55! no D'Q which is really easy to get in reining. The main thing was we done the pattern, kept going and she done it all willingly so pleased with her. I have given her a few days off to chill and last weekend she covered 35 miles over the weekend taking out riders  and escorting for our Annual Balgone Western weekend. What a great little girl.  


I rode Bluebell in the stubble field today to get some photos for an article and a bit of video to help people see what we are all aiming for. Despite not having had any schooling for the last 2 or 3 weeks she went really well and was so light and responsive I was so pleased with her. It is tricky finding the time to ride regularily now the nights are drawing in I will jsut need to ensure it is quality not always quantity for the next few months!


What an awful week last week! Bluebell was due to have the farrier trim up her feet and when I went up to bring her in she could not walk! it was awful she was really weak in her hind end and could not stand, falling onto me once and I just managed to get out the way. I called the vet and we gave her bute  and took blood and again took blood a few days later. Nothing was apparent at all really mysterious. I have not been able to ride her yet as the weather was awful but she now seems fine trotting around the field. I really have no idea what has caused it nor does the vet. So we just have to keep an eye on her.


Since I last wrote Bluebell and I have been back out hacking and really with me now working full time it had been a quiet winter. Feeling guilty that I was really asking too much of her and wanting to do more western I answered an ad wanting an inhand pony and Bluebell went down south. Unfortunatly it did not work out as intended and Bluebell is back with me, she arrived last Thursday and is delighted to be home. I have long reined her since she came back and she is very worried about too much pressure on her mouth and Lisa came out to check her last night. I was aware that she had been seen by an equine physio and a vet whilst away as she had been fine one week and then "naughty" the next. I am not surprised all her neck muscles into her chest were rock solid and she was finding it hard to move her front legs forward and her gluteal muscle was in spasm. Lisa released all this and she is now back to normal. I rode her on Sunday (last) and she was happy to carry me but I could sense she was sore so we only done what she was comfortable with. Farrier was here today and we have taken her hind shoes off just now as she is just as happy wearing her boots. Hoping to get her out this week whilst I am off but only if the weather improves!!


We headed out to our first dressage test since Bluebell came home. I was really pleased with her as  we have not done much schooling since she came back due to being busy at work and the weather! She loaded and travelled really well and as I had helped organise the show we just done the one test introductory A I rode her in western tack, western dress and in western style! I felt she went really well for me and looking at the little video Richard took of us I could have been softer but she remembered all we have done. Hopefully we will get out again this week to do some schooling as we have our first endurance ride of our season next Sunday. We got 50.5% ( about our average) and were 10th out of 14 but after 7 weeks of not doing much I am happy with that for now.


Fantastic news! Bluebell has been scanned in foal to Exbury Ghost an Appaloosa stallion owned by Laura and Mark at Chamfron stud. I am so pleased as she took first time. She has not been out much this spring and summer s there has not been much to go to apart from some training days (western) she has been relaxing both here and at Chamfron stud.


Just thought it was time to update the website. Bluebell is doing well and looking fatter by the day! she is now standing at 175 days in foal. She is being very careful with herself and when the others are running around like lunatics she is walking sedately. Apart from being quite crabbit with the other horses she is fine with humans. She is due on the 22nd of May the day before my 50th birthday. I have not been riding her just letting her have her pregnancy off as she had done quite a lot prior to being in foal. Currently she is living our un rugged as she is very hairy and not needing a rug as she has her internal heating!! She is getting ad lib hay but I will not start any hard feed until at least feb/march as I do not want her too fat to foal.

 Bluebell at around 135 days


They were all running around the field this morning and poor Bluebell was trotting behind them! I figured maybe she could do with a day in the stable having a rest and a feed on unlimited hay! Normally she gets a bit anxious being in the stable however when Fiona kindly let her out she did not seem to be in any hurry to get out and sauntered up to the field. She is a bit rotund just now! That is her now 5 months.   

24th of April 2013

Bluebell now has 4 weeks to go before she foals all is well so far and she is quite enjoying coming in for a feed and some one to one before going back out. No udder development as yet just a little before the udders.


Bluebell foaled a filly foal on the 22.05.13 the day before my birthday all went well and Bluebell is now living in Kelso in a retirement home keeping two geldings company and no doubt in line!   





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